|Mathematicians Visit Campus for Major Conference
March 07, 2007
Contact: Bill Giduz
Shortly after students vacated Chambers Building last week for spring break, mathematicians from around the world repopulated its halls.
About 310 mathematicians from colleges and universities across America and at least fifteen foreign countries came to Davidson for the southeastern regional meeting of the American Mathematical Society. They represented not only educational institutions but also high-tech corporations such as Bell Labs, Hewlett-Packard, Lockheed Martin, and Microsoft.
John Swallow, Kimbrough Associate Professor of Mathematics and Humanities, led the Davidson effort to attract the meeting, which is one of eight annual AMS regional gatherings. The Saturday-Sunday schedule was packed with fourteen parallel sessions, most of which involved morning and afternoon sections each day, and four keynote lecturers covered a wide range of mathematical topics.
|(l-r) Galois theory research partners Andy Schultz '02, John Swallow, and Ján Mináč got to reconnect again in person at the conference.|
“Anyone who wants to stay current in one of the special session areas is here,” said Professor Rich Neidinger, chair of the math department.
Through luck of the regional rotation, the AMS also scheduled its annual Erdös Memorial Lecture for the program of the Davidson meeting. The speaker was Andrew Granville of the University of Montreal, who spoke on “Erdös’s Dream and Pretentious Characters” in Duke Family Performance Hall.
AMS meetings offer opportunities for mathematicians to share their latest research results, and for graduate students to learn more about their thesis project areas. Occasionally undergraduates participate, but facility requirements led the college to schedule the meeting during the spring break for current students. Davidson professors and students do often travel together to conferences of the Mathematical Association of America, an organization which brings together teaching faculty and undergraduates.
Two Davidson alumni revisited campus for the weekend. Griff Elder ’86 now teaches number theory at Virginia Tech. “It’s a great opportunity to showcase this beautiful campus and facilities,” he said. “It should create broader recognition for the college and the math department.”
Andy Schultz ’02, who is finishing his Ph.D. at Stanford, presented research in Galois theory conducted with his former Davidson advisor, John Swallow, and Ján Mináč, a mathematician from the University of Western Ontario.
|Davidson mathematicians Rich Neidinger and Donna Molinek help UNC's Jane Hawkins prepare her presentation.|
Associate Professor Michael Mossinghoff described results from his collaboration with two faculty from Simon Fraser University in his presentation “Sign changes in sums of the Liouville function.” Mathematics department faculty also helped organize three special sessions in their areas of interest. Associate Professor Donna Molinek helped lead a session on dynamical systems. Assistant Professor Tim Chartier co-organized a session on linear algebra, and Swallow helped chair a session in Galois theory. By tradition, organizers of special sessions do not present papers.
For more information on the weekend’s proceedings, visit this AMS web site.
Davidson is a highly selective independent liberal arts college for 1,700 students. Since its establishment in 1837 by Presbyterians, the college has graduated 23 Rhodes Scholars and is consistently ranked in the top ten liberal arts colleges in the country by U.S. News and World Report
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Posted By: Bill Giduz